Today’s companies must respond quickly to sudden influxes of business and rapidly changing markets. Because of this, an increasing number of businesses are using e-learning to cross-train their employees so they are able to perform several jobs within the organization.
The trend started in service-oriented businesses such as restaurants and bars where three waiters or waitresses calling in sick on a full-house night can be catastrophic. Being able to pull in a previously-trained book-keeper or bartender to pick up the slack can mean the difference between success and ruin.
Now it has moved far into other industries. For example, at Toyota, employees are taught to build multiple car models on one assembly line.
What is Cross-Training in Business?
Most people think of sports when they hear the word “cross-training.” We think of the athlete training for the triathlon. They may be a skilled swimmer or runner, but they spend hours ensuring the cycling skills are up to speed as well so they can compete at top level in a variety of skilled tests.
In the workplace, the concept is similar. Cross-training in the modern company means training employees to take on duties outside of their regular jobs.
The Benefits of Cross-Training
Here are four reasons why businesses are using cross-training through e-learning:
- Cross-training provides a great “Plan B” if Plan A falls to pieces. This can happen if a number of employees become ill or injured at the same time or if an unexpectedly large order is secured.
- Teaching employees the skills to do other workers’ jobs helps to make each team member more aware of what the other person faces on a daily basis and builds corporate understanding.
- Employees who are cross-trained report feeling more inspired and less apt to endure burn-out because they get chances to learn new skills and be energized by changing routines.
- Cross-training employees increases the flexibility and versatility of your organization to pick up opportunities quickly and make them work.
If you decide to launch cross-training programs through e-learning in your company, communicate the idea with your staff and implement the program at a time when you are not at your busiest.
Be clear that when job-shifting is needed, everyone will be expected to pitch in. Let it be part of your corporate culture.